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600hp Jaguar XE SV Project 8 revealed

The collectors’ edition model is the most powerful road model that Jaguar has ever created; just 300 units planned globally.

Jaguar has revealed its more powerful road-going car yet – the XE SV Project 8. Developed by the company’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division, it is Jaguar’s second collectors’ edition model following the 2014 F-Type Project 7.

Like the Project 7, the XE SV will be hand-built at SVO’s technical centre in Coventry and it makes use of the same supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine. But in the XE SV, power has been ramped up to unprecedented levels, peaking at 600hp – around 24hp more than the aforementioned F-Type.
The XE SV is all-wheel drive, rather than being rear-driven like the Project 7, and uses a specially tuned version of its eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox.

Jaguar is yet to release official figures but it claims that the Project 8 is its most extreme model and will offer supercar-like performance. This suggests, it will beat the 3.5sec, 0-100kph time of Jaguar’s current, most accelerative road car, the all-wheel-drive F-Type SVR. This will edge the XE SV into the realms of hardcore machinery like the Porsche 911 GT3 and ahead of fellow limited-run track special, the BMW M4 GTS.

The Project 8, pictured wearing light camouflaging, has been developed at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Jaguar is yet to confirm the specifications of the car’s chassis setup, but the modifications applied to the Project 7 XE suggest SVO’s engineers will have almost certainly fitted firmer suspension and a faster steering rack to their new machine, lowering the car to improve high-speed composure and giving the quicker responses. It sits on lightweight wheels set at a wider track, illustrated by its bulging arches.

Matching its beefed-up underpinnings is a more aggressive exterior, with the XE SV gaining bespoke bodywork dominated up front by larger intakes and a spoiler on the bumper. At the back, it sports two pairs of exhaust tailpipes and the boot lid is adorned with a fixed rear wing, which generates genuine downforce.

The images do little to reveal what modifications have been made to the cabin, but significant weight-saving measures can be expected to help keep the SV’s mass down.

Jaguar has remained tight-lipped on when the car will arrive, but it’s expected to make its public debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in June where it’ll likely also be driven up the hill. When the Project 8 eventually makes production, it’ll do so as a limited-run model, with just 300 units planned globally – 50 more than the Project 7 – in left-hand drive only.

Courtesy : Autocar

May 27, 2017
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BMW 8-series concept revealed

Previewing the reborn 8-series coupe, the concept will heavily influence the appearance of the next generation models from BMW.

BMW has unveiled its bold concept 8-series design study at the Concorso d’Eleganza, previewing the production 8-series coupe that is planned to return to the carmaker’s international line-up in 2018 - after an almost two-decade hiatus.

The comeback of the 8-series is part of what the company bosses describe as the biggest model offensive in BMW’s history. Speaking at the 8-series concept unveiling, BMW board member Ian Robertson said: "We want to bring more cars into the upper luxury segment. We have already announced we are in the development phase of the X7. We are working on other products as we feel there is a lot of opportunity there. The new 8-series is part of this. In the next couple of years, we will see the most comprehensive change in the history of BMW."

The concept boasts a traditional two-door layout and classically hinged boot at the rear. It flaunts a bold look that BMW says will heavily influence the appearance of the next-generation models from the German carmaker.

“It showcases a new approach to the use of forms, which is reflected particularly prominently in the surfacing,” says BMW design boss Adrian van Hooydonk, who describes the new coupe as a full-blooded driving machine. “Crisp lines mark out clear surfaces, and the volumes are powerfully sculptured.”

Speaking at the launch, van Hooydonk added: "It is more than just a concept car; it is a very big step in BMW design. It is the start of a new form of [design] language - cleaner surfaces, more emotion, more sophistication."

While the concept’s dimensions and overall form will be reflected on the production version of the new BMW coupe, van Hooydonk acknowledges various elements and cues will be altered before it enters showrooms.

A number of characteristic BMW concept car flourishes, such as the oversized kidney grille, thin-line laser projector-touting headlamps, exaggerated air breather elements behind the front wheel arches and within the rear bumper and OLED imbued L-shaped tail lamps have all been altered with a more conservative appearance for the production version of the new 8-series.

Built on BMW’s latest rear-wheel-drive platform, the so-called CLAR (cluster architecture) structure, the new 8-series receives its own unique wheelbase and track widths to provide it with a suitably low and hunkered down stance reminiscent of the first-generation model. The 21-inch wheels will be retained as an option on the production car, according to BMW.

Among the hi-tech chassis features set to appear on standard versions of the new range-topping BMW is a double wishbone (front) and multi-link (rear) suspension with constantly variable air springs all around as well as an integral rear steer function aimed at providing it with class-leading agility. The car also adopts the lightweight construction initiatives found on the existing 7-series.

Alongside standard rear-wheel-drive versions of the new 8-series, BMW also plans a limited number of four-wheel drive xDrive models. BMW is holding back on details to the drivelines it plans to make available in the new 8-series, though it is expected to feature up to three standard front, longitudinally-mounted petrol units.

Recent trademark applications hint at a likely entry-level 840i model running a turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder, an 850i with a turbocharged 4.4-litre V8, and an M860i xDrive M Performance fitted with the same turbocharged 6.6-litre V12 that powers the M760Li xDrive. Also under consideration is an 840e plug-in hybrid model using the same petrol-electric powertrain seen in the 740e iPerformance.
Set to challenge the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-class coupe at the very top of BMW’s current 12-model-strong international line-up, the reborn 8-series will indirectly replace the existing third-generation 6-series, which is due to cease production in coupe and convertible guises after being superseded by a new fourth-generation liftback model in the form of the upcoming 6-series GT later this year.

Alongside the bullish coupe variant of the new model previewed by the 8-series concept, BMW also has plans for a plush open-top version of its new range-topping two-door. Set for an international launch in 2019, it eschews the folding hardtop arrangement favoured by BMW for its convertible models in recent years for an automatic multi-layer fabric hood.

Courtesy : Autocar

May 27, 2017
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Volkswagen debuts two Golf hybrid concepts

Golf GTI First Decade is the first electrified car to carry the GTI badge; GTE Estate ImpulsE focuses heavily on the car’s electric powertrain.

Two new Volkswagen Golf hybrid concepts – the Golf GTI First Decade and the GTE Estate ImpulsE – have been revealed at the Wörthersee meeting in Austria. Both concepts feature hybrid tech in their powertrains, albeit in very different forms.

The Golf GTI First Decade carries the title of being the first electrified car to carry the GTI badge and is powered by a 401hp, petrol engine driving the front wheels, and a 48V 12kW electric motor which powers the rear wheels. The two systems can work together or separately, which means that front, rear and all-wheel drive is possible, depending on which motor is chosen. These are selectable via an app, or through the car’s infotainment system, via Mirror Link.

Blue shades adorn the exterior of the car – inspired by the Wörthersee Lake and blue sky – while the number 10 on the side signifies the car as the 10th apprentice project presented at Wörthersee. A Clubsport rear spoiler and 20-inch mb-Design alloys have also been fitted.

The interior features the apprentices’ app-controlled adjustable sports seats feature, which also have massage functions. Despite the racier appearance of the car’s exterior, the creators of the car – a team of apprentices from Volkswagen’s Brunswick and Wolfsburg facilities – wished to keep the interior more restrained. Only blue highlights from the car’s exterior are carried through to interior trim, and blue contrasting upholstery stitching. An 11-speaker sound system with subwoofer and LED lighting takes up the space normally occupied by the rear seats and boot.

The Golf GTE Estate ImpulsE, created by apprentices from Sachsen is another hybrid, but with a heavier focus on the car’s electric powertrain. A 165kW system is used, with a 16.8kWh prototype battery pack – increased from 8.8kWh of the standard pack.

It’s marked out by a five-tone matte colour scheme and bonnet vents on the outside, and matching interior trim, with ambient lighting colours controlled via an app.

Courtesy : Autocar

May 25, 2017
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2017 Volkswagen Tiguan price, variants explained

The Tiguan is available in two trim levels and is only available with a 143hp, 2.0-litre diesel engine.

Volkswagen’s first all-new product in many years for the Indian market, the Tiguan is also the automaker’s second SUV to be offered here after the slow-selling Touareg. Priced from Rs 27.98 –  31.38 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Tiguan is being assembled by the automaker at its Aurangabad, Maharashtra, plant.

Volkswagen’s new SUV is currently being offered only with a single diesel engine paired with a seven-speed DSG gearbox and four-wheel drive as standard. The motor, a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder unit, is good for 143hp and 340Nm of torque. VW claims that the SUV can return 17.06kpl.

Unlike other VW models currently offered by the brand, the Tiguan comes in only two trim levels – Comfortline and Highline.

In terms of equipment, the Comfortline (Rs 27.98 lakh) offers:
•           Auto LED headlamps
•           17-inch alloy wheels
•           Three-zone auto climate control
•           Heated front seats with electric adjust for driver, with memory
•           Heated wing mirrors with electric adjust, retract and memory function
•           Cruise control
•           Touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility
•           Smartphone-based navigation function
•           Drive model select
•           Paddle shifters
•           Front, side and curtain airbags
•           ABS and ESC
•           Hill descent control
•           Front and rear parking sensors
•           Rain sensing wipers
•           Tyre pressure monitoring system

Apart from the above, the top Highline trim (Rs 31.38 lakh) adds in:
•           LED tail-lamps
•           Panoramic sunroof
•           Larger 18-inch alloy wheels
•           Illuminated scuff plates
•           Keyless entry and go
•           Easy open boot with one-touch closing function
•           Self-sealing tyres
•           Reverse parking camera

As seen from the above, Volkswagen is offering quite a bit of kit as standard for its new SUV, though at Rs 27.98 lakh for the entry-level model, the Tiguan is priced on the higher side.

Courtesy : Autocar

May 24, 2017
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Ford confirms Jim Hackett as new CEO

Reports suggest former CEO Mark Fields was ousted from the helm due to poor sales

Ford has appointed its former autonomous technology boss Jim Hackett as its new chief executive officer (CEO). Hackett, 62, replaces former CEO Mark Fields, with reports in the New York Times suggesting the latter was ousted following Ford’s poor global sales since he got the job in 2014. Ford's sales have decreased by 7 percent in the US and 11 percent in Europe.

The resulting shrink in profits has triggered a decrease in share prices of close to 40 percent in just over two years.

In an official statement, Ford said Hackett, who previously turned around the success of office furniture company Steelcase to make it a world leader and then served on Ford's board between 2013 and 2016 is now charged with sharpening operational execution, modernising its business and "transforming the company to meet tomorrow’s challenges".

When asked if his previous responsibility would encourage him to now push Ford's autonomous technology harder, Hackett explained that the plan would remain the same as before as the brand is already receiving heavy investment and growth. "I'll ask you to be patient with this," he added.

Ford executive chairman Bill Ford said: “We’re moving from a position of strength to transform Ford for the future. Hackett is the right CEO to lead Ford during this transformative period for the automotive industry and the broader mobility space. He’s a true visionary who brings a unique, human-centred leadership approach to our culture, products and services that will unlock the potential of our people and our business."

Hackett said: “I am so excited to work with Bill Ford and the entire team to create an even more dynamic and vibrant Ford that improves people’s lives around the world and creates value for all of our stakeholders. I have developed a deep appreciation for Ford’s people, values and heritage during the past four years as part of the company and look forward to working together with everyone tied to Ford during this transformative period."

Ford's leadership switch comes with a wider employment shake-up, where it has appointed new bosses for its marketing, operations and mobility divisions.

Jim Farley, 54, grows his leading role for Europe, the Middle East and Africa as the boss for Ford's global markets; Joe Hinrichs, 50, moves from his American executive vice president role to become global operations boss; and Marcy Klevorn, 57, becomes mobility boss, moving from his position as IT and technology leader.

The management changes come one week after Ford announced plans to reduce its Asia and North America workforces by 10 percent. It has 101,000 employees in North America and 23,000 in Asia.

A source with knowledge of the plan said the cuts, which are part of a $3 billion (around Rs 18,951 crore) cost-cutting scheme, are targeted directly at addressing profit and share price issues.

Courtesy : Autocar

May 23, 2017
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